Zaheer defends go-karting session, backs India to do well at Perth

Perth: India pace spearhead Zaheer Khan defended the team`s go-karting rendezvous after embarrassing losses in the first two Tests, and is confident of bouncing back in the third Test in Perth that starts Friday.

Zaheer, who skipped Monday`s go-karting session, said on long tours it was very important to use time wisely and allow the players to unwind.

"On a tour like this when there are four Tests, it`s important you use the time in between wisely. Especially for fast bowlers, it`s very important how their workload is monitored," said Zaheer.

Asked whether he was aware of his pace partner Ishant Sharma`s indecent gesture when heckled by fans during the go-karting session, Zaheer said: "Unfortunately, I did not go for go-karting yesterday so I really don`t know what happened. I didn`t talk about it with Ishant."

Zaheer, who has been the best Indian bowler of the series so far with 10 scalps, is confident of India doing well here as they did last time in 2008.

"We are focused and quietly confident. It`s not the first time we are in the tough situation. We are confident about doing well. Melbourne has been fantastic and we put pressure on the team. Sydney we thought there was a lot of difference between the first day and the second day. Considering all that, we have put in a good effort," he said.

"I am glad I have passed the Sydney hurdle. I am excited about playing on the Perth wicket," he said.

Zaheer also backed Ishant to do well in the remaining two Tests.

"He`s been bowling well and it`s just a matter of time that he starts picking up wickets. He has played in Perth before and this is the place that got him in reckoning," Zaheer said.

Zaheer also had words of praise for young pacer Umesh Yadav.

"Umesh Yadav is just starting in the international arena. I think that freedom is important for us. At this stage of his career he is allowed to make mistakes. I am very happy with his bowling," he said.

Asked whether Sachin Tendulkar`s impending 100th ton is taking a toll on the team, Zaheer said: "We want Sachin to score big for India but we are not stressed about his 100th ton. But the way he is playing, his feet movement, the way he is playing his shots, it looks his 100th hundred is not far away."

Zaheer also took a dig at Australian keeper Brad Haddin, who quipped that Indians break quicker than anyone in the world. The pacer asked the out-of-form Haddin to concentrate on his keeping.

"Haddin should focus on his keeping. That looked fragile to me. Since he is doing the talk, it looks like he has been appointed just for that," he said.

Zaheer said the final XI will be decided after taking a look at the pitch on the eve of the match.

"There are all sorts of possibilities possible. No combinations have been decided. We will look at the pitch a day before the match and then decide the playing XI," he said.

Zaheer also said that former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who came back to form in Sydney with a century after two years, could be dangerous.

"All I could see is that Ricky applied himself well in Sydney. A hundred is a hundred but he has changed as a player. He has become more of a grinder," he said.


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